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Agenda item

Annual Internal Audit Opinion Report

Report of the Senior Finance Manager.

Minutes:

5.1

 

 

 

5.2

 

 

 

 

5.3

 

 

5.4

 

 

5.5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5.6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5.7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5.8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5.9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5.10

 

 

 

 

5.11

 

 

5.12

 

The Senior Finance Manager for Internal Audit, Linda Hunter, explained that the report highlighted the work undertaken by Internal Audit for the municipal year 2020/21.

 

The Senior Finance Manager for Internal Audit stated that her opinion on the Risk Management, Governance and the Internal Control Framework were adequate to allow the Council to conduct its business appropriately.

 

It was also mentioned that there were no audit assignments given an audit opinion of no assurance for 20/21.

 

Members of the Committee asked questions and the key points to note were-

 

Councillor Simon Clement-Jones asked what had caused the risks to be highlighted in red in the report, The Head of Strategic Finance, Dave Phillips, said that the risk management plan was in place to identify risks at an early stage, therefore the Audit and Standards Committee along with the Council could review the risks and make sure actions were requested as soon as possible. Alternatively, it was mentioned that the Council was currently experiencing pressure due to a budgetary overspend for the municipal year, mainly due to COVID-19 related issues in Adult and Children Social Care.

 

Councillor Angela Argenzio asked if the internal audit had been impacted due to the internal audit staff working from home.  The Senior Finance Manager for Internal Audit responded, explaining that auditing was difficult to begin with, although there were no delays in carrying out work as the audit staff already had access to the appropriate IT kit. One area of auditing that auditors found difficult, was the auditing of Schools, this was due auditing them remotely so we encountered delays with schools returning evidence and the impact of half-terms, although the auditors did manage to audit the schools successfully in the end. For 21/22 school audits, the plan is to conduct school visits rather than remote working.

 

Councillor Argenzio asked if there had been any occasions where managers had attended the Audit and Standards Committee to justify their actions when not accepting their audit recommendations. The Senior Finance Manager for Internal Audit confirmed that no critical or high priority recommendations have been disagreed/rejected therefore there had not been the need for anyone to attend the Audit and Standards Committee.

 

Councillor Argenzio asked what percentage of responses were received for the performance targets questionnaire. The Senior Finance Manager for Internal Audit mentioned that she would aim to put the returns figures in future reports and added that the returns response rate had not been great this year (20/21). Internal audit also did not chase up responses as priorities lied elsewhere through these challenging times. However, for 21/22 questionnaire responses will be chased.

 

Councillor Mohammed Mahroof asked how Senior members had managed and monitored staff whilst working from home. The Committee were advised that appropriate software like Microsoft Teams was used to engage with staff, although agreed this had been difficult. It was mentioned that the Internal audit team had now got access to office facilities again therefore some staff have planned to utilise that, meaning staff monitoring would be far easier.

 

Councillor Josie Paszek referred to the reporting of excessive use of the internet in work hours. It was possibly not a fair reflection, as different factors could have occurred that increased internet use in work time.

 

The Chair thanked the Senior Finance Manager for Internal Audit for the report.

 

RESOLVED: - that the Committee notes the content of the report and the opinion of the Senior Finance Manager for Internal Audit.

 

 

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